Domestic football is back in our lives this weekend and that includes the Premier League. Arsenal will face an incredibly tough test in the form of Manchester City, and yet while they may be the underdogs, many believe they do actually stand a chance.
Gunners manager Mikel Arteta has taken the time to speak with the media ahead of the clash, and while a large focus was on the game, the dreaded Project Big Picture also came to the forefront of the conversation – as you’d expect.
On integrating Thomas Partey into the matchday squad:
Well he was here just yesterday, he is getting familiar with everything around the club. Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come really quickly for him. We knew that before we signed him that he is fit, he is very willing to start playing and we will see how he goes in the next few days.
On knowing Guardiola tactically better than anyone else:
I don’t know about better, I know him very well because we worked together for four years very closely. We both know how we think and the solutions that can be made, but after it is to try to prevent them or execute the football on the pitch when everything is going 100 mph which is very difficult and much more difficult than on tactics boards.
On Project Big Picture:
Well I think it was a very clear statement from the Premier League about what is going to happen. We all have to review the actual context and how we can help each other to make football more sustainable. But I think it has to be agreed by everybody and yesterday’s statement was very clear regarding that.
On whether Project Big Picture could’ve damaged our relationship with other clubs:
Well I don’t think so. I think it’s very special the way that the Premier League has conducted itself over the years [inaudible]. I think that’s a massive strength so as much as we can, we can maintain that unity and sustain our way of doing things. I think that’s very valuable and the image that we project to the outside world is really, really strong. I hope that we can maintain that.
On the one club, one vote principle:
I don’t know [how important it is]. If you ask all the clubs individually, they probably have different opinions. We have to find a way that works for everybody, that can make this game sustainable and allows us to still evolve in the context we’re in at the moment, which is important as well. It’s completely different to what it was 20 years ago, so we have to move, we have to share a vision in order to achieve that because at the end of the day, it’s for the benefit of every club.
On playing Manchester City (again):
It’s Manchester City and Liverpool I think [that we seem to play a lot]. It’s getting really tough, the fixtures that we have coming up in the next few weeks as well will be really difficult. We know the opponent we are facing. We all know the level that we have to be at individually and collectively to beat them. We haven’t had much time to prepare the game because today is our first training session all together but we will try to go to Manchester to win the game.
On the two sides being close in the league:
Well, our ambition is to go there and to try and beat them again. We know the challenge, we know how hard it is. Every detail, every individual performance has to be top and we have to control a lot of aspects of the game. They might be very different to the ones we have to control against Sheffield United but we have to be able to adapt as a team when we face this type of opposition.
On Eddie Nketiah and whether he’s close to being a starter:
Well, he’s very close because he’s already challenging everybody every week, whether he’s starting or not. I always have no doubts with him because of the way he trains and performs, his goalscoring record is getting better and better every week. He’s evolving the right way and this is what we need, players challenging and knocking on the door to become starters for us.
On games being pay-per-view and his opinion on unhappiness from fans:
Yes, I completely understand [the fans’ dissatisfaction] and we are having more discussions with the Premier League and the broadcasters in order to achieve a good solution for all parties. As you said, it’s an unprecedented situation, so I think we are learning from it, trying to adapt from it and make the right decisions. But yeah, football is based on our fans and the viewers that we have and we have to respect them and have them – as much as possible – on board with us because we really need them and we can see how different this sport is without them.
On whether he’d want a new contract:
Yes, but I have to earn that. Now in football you have to earn it every week and things change really quickly, so we have to be on our toes. Obviously, it’s my responsibility to plan medium and long-term as well, but that’s with or without me. At the end, the time that I’m going to be at this football club will be related to how much I can move the club forward, improve the team and be a success on the pitch and get the values and the vision that I want to implement into this club as well off the pitch.
Quotes courtesy of Arsenal.com
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